Tennessee Department of Human Services Recognizes Fraud and Financial Exploitation Awareness Month

Monday, October 24, 2016 | 10:17am

Tennesseans are encouraged to know the signs and steps to take when fraud and financial exploitation are suspected

NASHVILLE – October is Fraud and Financial Exploitation Awareness Month, and while everyone is susceptible to the risk, the Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) Adult Protective Services program has a special message to the elderly, their families and communities: know the signs of abuse and take action to prevent it.

The National Adult Protective Services Association reports that 1 in 20 older adults have indicated some form of perceived financial mistreatment in the recent past.

“As gatekeepers for our communities, we all have a role in protecting people who may be isolated or targeted from the risks of abuse including fraud and financial exploitation,” said Tennessee Department of Human Services Commissioner Dr. Raquel Hatter. “We must be vigilant in recognizing the potential signs of abuse and taking action to ensure our communities remain vibrant places to live for everyone.”

A key step to reducing the risk of fraud and financial exploitation is to identify the signs early.  Common signs of fraud and financial exploitation of adults include, but are not limited to:

  • Sudden changes in the persons financial condition
  • Financial activity the person couldn’t have done, such as an ATM withdrawal when the account holder is bedridden
  • Large withdrawals from the person’s bank account
  • No food in the home, the utilities are cut off, and the home is not maintained
  • The person is unaware of their finances
  • Unpaid bills
  • A drastic change in the person’s quality of life

There are also steps that can be taken to prevent fraud and financial exploitation:

  • Add your phone number to the Do Not Call list and remove your address from mailing lists.
  • Be aware of common scams. Listings are commonly available through consumer report resources.

The following sites have more information on common scams and additional resources:

https://www.stopfraud.gov/protect-yourself.html

https://tn.gov/commerce/section/consumer-affairs

http://www.napsa-now.org/policy-advocacy/exploitation/

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/older-americans/

https://www.ncoa.org/economic-security/money-management/scams-security/protection-from-scams/

https://www.donotcall.gov/

How can you report suspected abuse of the elderly and vulnerable adults?

Call toll free 1-888-APS-TENN (1-888-277-8366). Or, report suspected abuse online at a secure website: https://reportadultabuse.dhs.tn.gov/ 

Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services and Adult Protective Services at www.tn.gov/humanservices.   

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Human Services